MONARCH — The 2017-2018 school year is nearly a month old and at Monarch Elementary School that means it’s time for some entertainment courtesy of a group of talented young musicians.
In a statement released this week, Monarch Elementary School announced that it had welcomed the school’s Steel Drum Band to the stage for their first performance of the year.
The band is composed of Sara Paige Glenn, Sara Hart, Drake Sealy, Gracie Crawford, Zoe Smith, Melle Ponder, and Ben Fowler, all of whom performed under the direction of their teacher, Catherine Thrift-Winch. The band performed the “G Major Scale” and the “Beginner Bossa.”
According to www.steelpan-steeldrums-information.com, steel drums are also known as “steel pans” and “were created on the Caribbean island of Trinidad in the 1930s.” However, the website states that steel pan history can be traced back to the enslaved Africans who were brought to the islands during the 1700s. They carried with them elements of their African culture including the playing of hand drums. These drums became the main percussion instruments in the annual Trinidadian carnival festivities.”
The website states that the playing of the drums were banned by the British authorities in 1877 and were subsequently replaced with “bamboo stamping tubes … as they produced sounds comparable to the hand drum when they were pounded on the ground. These tubes were played in ensembles called tamboo bamboo bands.”
The website states “non-traditional instruments like scrap metal, metal containers, graters and dustbins were also used in tamboo bamboo bands. However, by the 1930’s these metal instruments dominated the tamboo bamboo bands. The bamboo tubes were eventually abandoned and replaced by the metal instruments.”
The website states that “these early metal pan bands were a rustic combination of a wide variety of metallic containers and kitchen utensils which were struck with open hands, fists or sticks. The metal pan players discovered that the raised areas of the metal containers made a different sound to those areas that were flat. Through experimentation, coincidence, trial and error, and ingenuity on the part of numerous innovators, the metal pan bands evolved into the steel pan family of instruments. As the pan makers knowledge and technique improved, so did the sound of the instrument.”
According to the website the steel pan or steel drum “is now the national instrument of the republic of Trinidad and Tobago and a source of great pride for its citizens. Steel pan and its innovators are now held in high regard by persons of all levels of society in Trinidad and Tobago.”